If this were a perfect world, every dog food brand would be equal. Sadly, this isn’t the case. Many dog owners face the challenging task of picking out dog food from a wide net of options that all claim to be the best fresh dog food on the market.
The truth is not every dog food brand is good for your puppy, no matter how much the brand’s marketing efforts try to claim the opposite.
Of course, that doesn’t make the search for a great brand any easier. Looking through pet store shelves to find dog food that is healthy, delicious, and reasonably priced can be frustrating.
Since your little buddy is a voracious eater, they deserve to eat food that’s both savory and healthy for their growing bodies.
We know how stressful the search for high-quality food is. To make it easier for you, we’ve gathered together a short and quick guide on how to pick the best dog food for your puppy.
What do I feed my new puppy?
All young puppies need a nutritionally balanced diet to help their growth and development. As such, your puppy’s dog food should be specifically formulated for puppies their age. We also recommend looking into the nutritional needs of small breeds and large breeds.
Small breeds have a high metabolic rate so they should be fed high-calorie food 3 to 4 times a day. In contrast, larger breeds do not need food that’s as dense with calories. They also don’t need to be fed as often.
Once you start feeding your puppy, be sure they’re receiving balanced nutrition that’s helping them gain weight at an optimal rate. The amount of food your puppy eats depends on several factors like their age, size, and breed.
If you aren’t sure how much or what to feed your puppy, ask your veterinarian. Your vet will be able to examine your puppy and discuss how much your little buddy should be eating regularly. They will also suggest what food brands you should offer your puppy.
What types of dog food are great for puppies?
There are various food brands available for purchase in stores and online. However, puppy food is only available in wet and dry forms. Keep your puppy’s preferences in mind when buying dog food.
You could always mix up wet and dry puppy food to see which one your puppy enjoys eating the most (or if they enjoy eating it as a mixture!).
Also, when you’re shopping for puppy food, always read the labels on the packaging to see what nutritional benefits it offers for your fur-baby. Many dog food brands are famous for boasting about their nutritional value but do not actually provide enough for your puppy’s needs.
The same goes for dog treats as well. Avoid foods and treats that are saturated with unhealthy fats and sugars. Do not feed your puppy table scraps either. If you get your little buddy used to human food, they may grow up to become picky eaters and develop poor eating habits.
What factors should I consider when choosing my puppy’s food?
- Your puppy’s age and energy level. As puppies become older, their nutritional needs evolve to a completely different level. Again, it all depends on your pup’s size and breed. In most cases, puppies should transition from puppy to adult dog food once they reach 1 or 2 years of age.
- Assess your puppy’s nutritional needs. Consult with your vet for the best overview of your furry friend’s health. Ask them whether your puppy is in good shape or in need of nutrients. For some puppies, it’s easier to see if they’re too thin or packing too many pounds.
- Always ask questions. Pet store staff and vets exist to help you provide the best life for your puppy. When you’re comparing two dog food brands, don’t be afraid to ask an employee about each brand and determine which is best for your puppy. You can also discuss this topic with your veterinarian. Each of these individuals knows what they’re talking about and will point you in the right direction so that you meet your puppy’s needs.
Can you overfeed your puppy?
The short answer? Yes. It is incredibly easy to overfeed your puppy. Unlike most humans, dogs do not have a filter when it comes to food. Some puppies will eat as much as you give them (and more) if you aren’t careful.
It’s important that your puppy receives the right balance of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals for their body. Puppies that are overfed or underfed will develop a variety of health issues that will affect them into adulthood.
One of the biggest issues puppies (and dogs) develop from overfeeding is obesity. According to VCA Animal Hospital, it is the most common preventable disease in dogs with around 25-30% of the dog population suffering from obesity.
An obese puppy or adult dog is not healthy. Without proper treatment or effort to lose weight, your puppy could suffer from serious health conditions that may pile up hospital bills. In short, avoid overfeeding your puppy at all costs.
A few common signs you’re overfeeding your puppy include:
- Changes in bowel movements
- Frequent flatulence (passing gas)
- Tear stains
Speak with your vet to know how much food you should feed your puppy. Do research on the best practices for feeding puppies. Remove your fur-baby’s bowl once they’re finished eating. Following these rules will help you keep your puppy strong and healthy well into their adult years.
The best, high-quality puppy food is based on your puppy’s needs. As a puppy parent, you’re responsible for ensuring that your little buddy is receiving nutritional value from their food on a regular basis.
If your puppy produces strong, normal stool, has lots of energy, and a ravenous appetite, then the dog food you’ve selected is doing wonders for their health. Always consult with your vet.
Your veterinarian should be your go-to resource for accurate information about puppy nutrition. They’ll know more about your puppy than other owners, and they may be able to create a feeding schedule for you to follow.
As long as you place your puppy’s health as your top priority, you’ll always have a happy, healthy four-legged friend with you for a lifetime!
Read our blog, How To Train Your Puppies to Eat Solid Food to learn how to transition your young puppy to eating solid dog food.